Your First Apartment: Move-In Day Prep

Get ready to live on your own with our checklist and tips for moving day.


Let the countdown to move-in day begin! While signing the lease on your first apartment is a considerable win, it isn’t time to kick your feet up on the coffee table quite yet. Cover your bases for a smooth, as stress-free as possible, move-in day with our tried-and-true advice below—and a handy checklist of everything you need for your new-to-you home.

Know Your Space

Hopefully, you’ve seen the apartment in person before, but go back to see the space again. It should be empty, so you can visualize how to setup the new place. Bring a measuring tape, a notepad, and pen. Measure doorways, stairwells, and living spaces before considering what pieces of furniture will fit in the apartment. You may not be able to get a certain bed frame, sofa, or dresser through a hall, up stairs, and around a banister. Write measurements down so you can reference these later with your furniture.

Get a Clean Head Start

Before moving in, give the place a good cleaning. Fingers-crossed, the previous tenants left the place in order, and, if not, the landlord made sure that the apartment was clean for you. Worst case scenario, the previous tenants are moving out the same day you move in, leaving you no time to clean in advance. It’s still easier to sweep and vacuum first-thing on moving day before lugging all of your furniture, clothing, and decor inside—or designate one spot to stash boxes while you clean. 

Give it a Once-Over

Check for any and all repairs. Make sure windows open like they should, and that there aren’t gaps in the seals. It might not seem like a big deal now, but you don’t want to wait to have these fixed until the middle of a drafty, cold winter. Test lights, heaters, fans, air conditioners, appliances, and faucets. Let your landlord know if anything isn’t working properly right away.

Have a Plan

Reference your lease to see when you can officially pick up your key and move in. While you are at the new apartment, take parking into account. Where will the moving truck or family SUV fit? Do you need to get a parking pass for the day? If you need to rent a truck or van, reserve it as far in advance as possible!

We Like to Move it, Move it

Lastly, before moving into your new apartment, enlist family or friends to help out. Just three additional people will save you countless trips to the truck, flights of stairs, and heavy hoists of furniture. Pizza and some cold drinks is the going rate, but you could always offer to pay.

Come Prepared with our Checklist

Know the difference between want and need: Your first apartment might not look like your dream home, but it’s not supposed to.

If you have roommates, talk to them before buying new items for shared areas like the living room, kitchen, or bathroom. This can help with the burden of buying all the items your apartment needs, plus it’s a shame to waste money on duplicate items that you won’t use. They might be bringing chairs to go with your kitchen table, or already have new a shower curtain and bath mat.


Use this checklist as your starting point, crossing off and adding on any additional items as you pack. 

For the overall space: 

  • Curtains
    Welcome mat
  • Area rugs
    Wall hooks or storage (for shoes, coats, or keys)
    Trash cans, and trash bags 
  • Light bulbs
  • Broom and dust pan, or vacuum
  • Mop, bucket, and floor cleaner, vacuum 
  • Cleaning supplies, and paper towels
  • Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, and fabric softener 
  • Extension cords or surge strips 
    Flashlights, or candles and matches 
  • Batteries of various sizes 
  • Emergency first aid kit
  • Internet router and cord
  • Stationery (stamps, envelopes, stapler, staples, paper clips, tape, etc.)  
    Basic toolbox: Hammer, nails, screwdriver (flat- and Philips-head), screws, measuring tape, pliers, and wrench 

For the living room:


For the kitchen: 

    • Cookware (pots and pans) 
    • Dishes and glasses 
    • Flatware
    • Knives 
    • Mixing bowls 
    • Utensils, utensil organizer, measuring cups and spoons 
    • Cutting boards 
    • Can opener, and bottle opener 
    • Napkins 
    • Food storage containers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and Ziplock bags 
    • Ice cube trays 
    • Dish rack 
    • Dish soap, dishwasher detergent (optional) 
    • Sponges, kitchen towels, and oven mitts 
  • Kitchen table and chairs 

For the bathroom

  • Bath towels, washcloths, hand towels, and bath mat
  • Shower curtain, shower liner, and rings
  • Toiletries, and hand soap
  • Toothbrush holder, shower caddy, and towel hook
  • Toilet paper, and tissues
  • Toilet brush, and plunger


For the bedroom

  • Bedframe 
  • Mattress and box spring 
  • Night stand 
  • Dresser 
  • Pillows 
  • Comforter, duvet cover, sheets 
  • Hamper, and storage bins 
  • Hangers


At we can help you choose the right modern furniture and home decor for your first apartment.

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